Damselflies are evolving rapidly as they expand their range in response to a warming climate, according to new research led by Macquarie University researchers in Sydney.
“Genes that influence heat tolerance, physiology, and even vision are giving them evolutionary options to help them cope with climate change. Other insects may not be so lucky,” says Dr Rachael Dudaniec, lead author of the paper. Continue reading Are damselflies in distress?
Fresh Science helps Australian early-career researchers find their story and their voice.
Over the past 20 years Fresh Science has trained and empowered more than 500 future leaders in science to engage with the community, media, government and industry.
In 2016, we chose 60 researchers around the country, trained them, and gave them the chance to present their science in pubs, school talks and to the media. Here are a few of their stories.
Continue reading Fresh Science
Heading into deep water
Perth researchers help Chevron keep oil and gas flowing smoothly
Out in the Gulf of Mexico Chevron are operating a $7.5 billion platform that’s recovering oil and gas from two-kilometre-deep ocean.
It’s the largest and deepest operation in the Gulf, with over 146km of pipeline bringing oil and gas to refineries.
But pipelines operating at extreme depths in cold water and crushing pressure are prone to blockage. University of Western Australia researchers are helping Chevron keep oil and gas flowing through deep-water pipes.
Continue reading From the ocean floor to batteries—partners in energy
There’s still life in lead batteries. East Penn Manufacturing operates the largest single-site, lead-acid battery manufacturing facility in the world in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
They argue that their new lead batteries are 99 per cent recyclable and ideal for large-scale storage.
To prove it, they’re developing a 3MW power storage system using the UltraBattery technology invented by Australia’s CSIRO.
By combining lead-acid technology with a supercapacitor, the UltraBattery not only charges and discharges rapidly, but lasts four to five times longer than an ordinary battery.
High-power lasers have many potential applications: from medical imaging to manufacturing, shooting down drones or space junk, or powering deep space probes. But current laser technologies overheat at high power.
Associate Professor Rich Mildren and his team have developed a technique to make diamond lasers that, in theory, have extraordinary power range. Five years ago, their lasers were just a few watts in power. Now they’ve reached 400 watts, close to the limit for comparable conventional lasers.
Continue reading Reinventing the laser
American mines are safer and more efficient thanks to Australian technologies
‘Blood tests’ for big machines
Mining companies across America are increasing the reliability of their trucks, diggers, and other big machines, and saving hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.
They’re giving these big machines regular health tests and comparing the results with a global database for that machine.
The result? They’re fixing machines before they break. This preventative health system was developed by an Australian company, Dingo, which now has 40 people working at its bases in Denver, Brisbane, and Calgary.
Continue reading Healthier trucks and clean air underground—partners in mining technologies
The idea that long-term memory might be stored in our brain’s DNA is being tested by Professor Geoff Faulkner, using brains affected by Alzheimer’s.
Geoff has already shown that the DNA in our brains is different to the DNA in the rest of our bodies and that it changes as we learn. He’s proposing that these changes are associated with how we store our long-term memories.
More recently, he’s linked these differences to the function of genes in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls memory and spatial navigation, and has been implicated in memory loss with ageing, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading Are memories stored in DNA?